PEOPLE & PLACES - AUGUST 2019

MOHR presents awards at summer conference

Outstanding direct support professionals and a longtime disability community leader were honored at the MOHR summer conference in St. Cloud. The 2019 Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Awards honor those who demonstrate exceptional performance in serving individuals with disabilities. Also selected was a Tip of the Spear award for an individual who inspires others to take action benefiting people with disabilities.

Five DSPs were feted. A follow-up specialist with Rise in Coon Rapids, Pamela Satek leads with her heart, is person-centered and believes in each and every person she serves. As a job coach, Satek gives one-on-one assistance to people with disabilities who work competitively in the community. A job coach who provides supports, she makes regular visits and offers soft skills training, as well as motivation.

At CHOICE, Inc., David “DJ” Preiner is the lead fitness instructor for the SHAPE Program. Preiner leads onsite educational programs, job coaches at work sites, does case management and facilitates community integration opportunities. He has led fun health and fitness challenges, used a community garden plot to create meal kits for group homes, partnered with a transition program and initiated a mentorship program to build leadership skills.

Nancy Delaske has been a valued DSP with LeSueur County Developmental Services (LCDS) since 1995. She has an ability to foster the very best from each individual she works with. Known as a loyal supporter of the people LCDS serves, Delaske does an outstanding job of teaching individuals how to do their jobs well, both those working in the community and people who work in an LCDS facility. She shares successful approaches for working with crews while maintaining a consistent work ethic.

Sue Houghton has served people with disabilities for
27 years at Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI), which is
in Minneapolis and the western suburbs. As a job coach, she’s worked with PRI participants at Target stores since. Her passion for people with disabilities began as a playground supervisor in high school, where she served a boy with Down’s Syndrome.

Amanda Olson with Cokato’s Functional Industries is a case manager for a location serving 36 individuals with disabilities. An Army veteran mental health specialist, she grew up with a brother with developmental disabilities. She started as a job coach, became an assistant case manager and then a shipping and receiving coordinator. She has the ability to work with individuals who cannot verbalize their needs.

Tip of the Spear winner Lynn Noren is an extremely thoughtful and effective communicator and collaborator who has accomplished a great deal in her more than 40 years of service to the industry, explains MOHR President Julie Johnson, who nominated Noren for the award. The president of Rise, a large MOHR member provider, Noren has served on numerous industry advisory boards, committees, taskforces and leadership groups. “I can’t imagine a better thing to do than to work in an organization where you can have an impact on people every single day,” said Noren, who credited her great team of leaders and staff at Rise. She said the field requires constant learning, relearning and rethinking to come up with new ideas.

“But, at the very core, our work is all about supporting people to live their very best lives.” Noren is a sought after presenter and has served in multiple leadership roles for MOHR and the organizations that preceded it. She is highly reliable as an expert in her field and helps others to understand the inner workings of disability services, breaking down complex concepts and language in “nuanced and digestible ways,” said Johnson.

The awards were presented at the MOHR Summer Conference in St. Cloud. MOHR serves more than 110 adult day, day training and habilitation, extended employment and supported employment service providers across the state.

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Minnesotan advances in team trials

The National Wheelchair team selection trials have been underway this summer at the Denver Curling Club in Golden, Colo and the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine. Further competition this fall will determine the final five athletes selected to be Team USA at the 2020 World Wheelchair B Championship in November. There the U.S. will fight for a berth to the 2020 World Wheelchair Championship.

One team member is Batoyuna Uranchimeg of Burnsville.

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Awards given at conference

The 2019 Age & Disabilities Odyssey Conference, held in early August in Duluth, included presentations of the Age & Disabilities Odyssey Awards. The awards are for those who make outstanding efforts to bring possibilities to life for older adults and people with disabilities.

“The work of these advocates make real and lasting differences in the lives of people with disabilities and older adults,” said Claire Wilson, Human Services deputy commissioner. Forty-four nominations were received this year.

One winner is the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making, a program of Volunteers of America Minnesota and Wisconsin. The center works to shift Minnesota away from one-size-fits-all reliance on court-appointed guardianships and toward supported decision-making, an approach where people make their own decisions with the support of a trusted team. By bringing together professionals, people with disabilities and their supports, the center has educated and trained thousands. Its work to change perceptions about guardianship and to promote person-centered decision-making practices continues.

Other winners are Raj Chaudhary, founder and chief operating officer of SEWA-AIFW (Asian Indian Family Wellness); Northland Foundation’s AGE to age Program; and the Hennepin County Homeless Access team.

The awards are a highlight of the Odyssey conference, the largest joint event sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging. The training and development conference is held every two years. Those who attend include government workers, providers and other stakeholders.

“Our mission is to support choice and quality in long-term services and supports,” said Kari Benson, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “The conference is a great opportunity to recognize people who are excelling in this work.”

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New clinic hosts open house

Aris Clinic, a pediatric behavioral health clinic is opening a second behavior health clinic in Woodbury.

The private clinic is expanding to help meet the shortage of critical behavioral health care services for children and youth ages 5–18 in the five-county metro area and western Wisconsin. An open house will be held at the clinic in September, at 2040 Woodwinds Drive, Woodbury. This event is free and open to the public.

Refreshments will be served.

Both sites will advance Aris Clinic’s mission to treat and help more kids transition back to healthy, stable and productive lives in their homes and schools. According to Aris Clinic founder, Shalene Kennedy, the demand for youth and supportive family services is growing.

“Many people are surprised that our program treats kids as young as five years old. But there’s great need,” Kennedy said. “Expanding our clinic is a big step toward addressing the shortage of mental health services currently available for all children, teens and their families in the Twin Cities, specifically the East Metro.”

Since 2011, Aris Clinic has specialized in outpatient psychiatric services and full-day pediatric intensive outpatient programs (IOP) at its first site on Currell Boulevard in Woodbury. The new 15,000-squarefoot building on a natural 20-acre site, will allow the provider to further tailor a personalized care model for IOP programming and customize its treatment approach and interiors to two separate age groups.

Aris Clinic – Woodwinds will focus on youth in grades 7–12. The clinic’s existing site, to be called Aris Clinic – Currell, will focus on youth in grades K–6 and be led by Tamera Tew, a certified nurse practitioner.